Saginaw man sentenced for hate crimes after leaving nooses and threats at businesses

A 62-year-old Michigan man has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison after a series of hate crimes made in the summer of 2020.

Kenneth D. Pilon of Saginaw, was sentenced after pleading guilty to willfully intimidating and attempting to intimidate citizens from engaging in lawful speech and protests in support of Black Lives Matter.

Pilon admitted to calling nine Starbucks stores in mid and southeast Michigan and telling the employees answering his calls to tell those wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts that "the only good n***er is a dead n***er." Pilon also admitted to telling one employee, "I’m gonna go out and lynch me a n***er."

Additionally, over the course of the next month, Pilon left four nooses in parking lots and a fifth noose inside of a 7-Eleven store. Pilon attached each noose to a handwritten note, reading: "An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!"

"The nooses, the threat letters, and the calls to Starbucks were all intended to terrorize the targeted victims solely because of their race," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

"The Civil Rights Division will always stand up to race-based threats of violence, which have no place in civilized society." "A noose is a symbol of hatred that evokes the darkest days of our country’s past. Its placement is meant to terrorize a part of our community, but we will not tolerate these race-based threats. Our office stands ready to vigorously investigate and prosecute criminal violations of our civil rights laws," said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan.